I've always liked the film the Wizard of Oz. I particularly like the scene where Toto, Dorothy's little dog, jumps out of her arms to pull back the curtain and reveal that the intimidating, omniscient wizard is simply a little old guy pulling levers.
The truth is, I see myself as a Toto. I like demystifying things. I especially like taking things that are intimidating, awe inspiring, and pulling back the curtain to reveal the simplicity that lies behind. I love saying 'See! Anyone can do this. It's really not that complicated!' If you don't know how to do it, attracting a consistent stream of paying clients can seem overwhelming, intimidating, confusing and complicated. When you ARE doing it, it's as straightforward as a little old guy pulling levers.
Right now, what's complicating things for many people, in my view, is the technology that surrounds marketing, especially online marketing. Ezines, search engine optimisation, Google Adwords, e-books, e-courses, autoresponders, shopping carts, merchant accounts. Just how do all these pieces fit into your marketing plans?
Faced with a list like this people either go into the 'headless chicken dance' and rush around frantically trying to keep up or are paralysed by confusion like a rabbit caught in the headlights, they just freeze and do nothing. (Dogs? Chickens? Rabbits? This article is starting to feel like Noah's ark!)
Now, I don't recommend that you do the headless chicken routine, as it is very detrimental to your energy levels. And if you've been feeling like the proverbial rabbit in the headlights, then I've got good news for you too. First, breathe. (Breathing is good!) Now get yourself comfortable, I'm about to pull back the curtain.
Doing business online is no different from doing business offline. And in both arenas, marketing is nothing more than matching up your product or service with the people who need it.
Now, if you don't understand how to do this at it's core, then no amount of technology will help you. If you have grasped at an elemental level, how to match up with your target market, then the technology can turbo-charge your progress.
In a nutshell, this is what you need to do. First you need to generate leads, get people who are in the market for what you have to offer to 'raise their hands' and make themselves known to you. Next you need to make an explicit offer to those people who raise their hands. Tell them clearly what they need to do to become a customer or client of yours. Now some people will buy immediately, other people may need more time, or more convincing.
If you have a low cost system for staying in touch with those people who don't buy immediately AND you consistently add value to those people, and remind them of what you have to offer, then over time a good proportion of those clients will convert into paying clients too.
Now, some of this may look like I'm 'stating the obvious' but if it's so obvious, why are so few people actually applying it? Where I see most people fall down is on step two, making a clear offer to those people who have 'raised their hands', but that's a subject for another time.
The key to bear in mind is that marketing is simply about getting into a relationship with people. All of the technology I rattled off earlier are simply ways to facilitate these three steps.
If you and I were to sit down today and have a conversation about your business, could you tell me the following?
· This is how I get my target market to 'raise their hands'.
· This is what I invite them to buy after they have 'raised their hands'.
· This is how I present my offer in a way which compels them to take action.
· This is how I follow up and stay in touch with people over time.
When you can clearly articulate the answers to these four questions, then marketing your business will be as simple as clicking your heels three times, and just like Dorothy, you will discover that the power has been within you all along.
©Bernadette Doyle, 2008.
Bernadette Doyle may be contacted at http://www.clientmagnets.com
Bernadette Doyle publishes her weekly Client Magnets newsletter for trainers, coaches, consultants, complementary therapists and solo professionals. If you want to get clients calling you instead of you calling them, then get your free tips now at http://www.clientmagnets.com